Ghost Story From Tekong – Both a Gurkha’s and My Story

"The Gurkhas used to train on the offshore island of Pulau Tekong and Mr Shree Bahadur Thapa remembers leisurely driving along Tekong highway.

One night, he came across an old man in his 80s at Camp Two located in the eastern part of the offshore island. He was carrying a changkul and wearing a amboo hat and Mr Tharpa wondered what this man was doing late at night. It was 9.45pm on his watch.

"How far is Camp One from here?" the old man asked. After Mr Thapa replied that it was quite a distance, the old man said "thank you" and walked away.

Mr Thapa shared what he saw with his friends the following morning. His surprised friends earnestly told him that there was no civilian life on Pulau Tekong at night."

This was a story told by Mr Thapa to The Straits Times on December 3, 2011, page D11, who served as a Gurkha from 1978 till 1994.

After reading this story, I too recalled that I had quite a similar experience back in 1993 when I was in Officer Cadet School (OCS). Just that my story comes without the old man.

A few OCS friends and I were on a night topography mission on Tekong Island. It was pitch dark that evening. Even the clouds colluded to block out the glow of the moon.

Strange things happened that evening. Lugging our full packs and weapons, we were navigating our way to the next check point. Around us were palm trees – row after row of these trees. After a long trek, we thought that we actually arrived at the same spot where we first started. Still uncertain with our deduction, we pasted a green sticky tape on the tree and walked on. In the next 20 minutes, we were back at the same tree. We might have been impaired by our tiredness, but what we saw was unbelievable! It was not like we were walking blind. We had our map and compass. 

To add to our uneasiness, the last muslim prayer at about 8.30pm channelled out from a Malaysian mosque only helped to remind us that there is definitely a spiritual realm to life. 

We turned our agitation on each other, arguing about how we could be so lost. Finally, we realised that since we were going around in circles, the best way was to look for a direct but longer route to use. That route was the Tekong Highway.

When we arrived at Tekong Highway, the route was simply un-passable. The path was burning amber. Someone or something had laid an entire path of simmering fire throughout the entire highway till our eyes can see. It was like, "What in the world are we up against?" We thought that we would still bash through since this was our only hope. We were really at lost over what we should do next. 

The 'saviour' to our full night of misery came when we saw a vehicular light from a distance. It was coming towards us. We waved frantically for the land rover to stop. It did and the Gurkhas in the vehicle asked us to board it.

As the vehicle moved along, we shared that we had wanted to use the Tekong Highway to get to our location, and the simple reply was," Don't take that road". We never did ask why.

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